Engagement: January 14th, 2012
2011 marked the first year Matt and I were away from our families for Christmas. Having just started a new position in CA, it was a challenge to fly cross country my first year. So Matt and I made it a point to travel back to Philly a few weeks after Christmas for an extended weekend visit. Little did I know what was to come.
We planned out our whole weekend full of activities and visits with our family and friends. We arrived in Philly early Friday morning (Jan 13th) after a long red eye from the west coast. After picking up the rental car, we made our way to Abington for our first activity with Matt’s parents: a trip to the movies, a traditional Uhrich outing. And I got to say, seeing The Artist (the silent film) after a red eye was quite a struggle, no matter how fantastic the movie was! Afterwards, we shared a wonderful dinner with Marge and Bruce to end a wonderful first day with family.
Saturday, we continued our rounds of seeing family and friends making our way to Manayunk to see our good friend Jen. This was the big day for Matt and yet I did not have the slightest clue what the night would hold! And at this point Jen was also clued in on what would be happening a few hours from then! Kudos to her for not cracking or giving any accidental hints!
After Jen’s we made a quick trip to West Philly to visit Stoufferites Ryan and Evan before our “dinner”. Our visit with them (and our game of Settlers), was cut short by our “dinner reservations” with Matt’s brother and sister-in-law, Dave and Kara. I kept insisting on one more roll in our Settler’s game, but Matt was very pushy about getting into town on time. So begrudgingly I put the dice down and we said our farewells.
We made our way to center city for our “dinner with Dave and Kara”. I knew the time and location for dinner, but what Matt didn’t bet on was that I knew downtown more than he had thought! As we made our way closer to the “restaurant” I began insisting that he look for parking. Space after space passed us by without any inclination on Matt’s behalf to take one. As the side seat driver I strongly urged him to change lanes and park in the nearby garage, getting a little pissed at this point that he hadn’t parked already! Mind you we had been living in California for 6 months up til then, and it was mid-January in Philadelphia...it was quite chilly out!! And the more Matt continued to ignore my parking suggestions, the further and further away we got from our destination. So as Matt continued on his path for “parking”, I continued on the path of vast frustration!
Well Matt eventually did decide to park, but definitely would not have been my first choice! (I may have voiced a few snippy remarks to show my disapproval) But if you saw where we parked, you would understand too! It was the parking garage underneath LOVE park, quite a few blocks away from the restaurant and not the nicest of garages. But for his ultimate plan to work, this was the best location. And I still suspected nothing!
As we made our way to the “restaurant”, we conveniently made a detour through LOVE park, one of our favorite locations to walk through during our trips to center city. However, this was the first time I had ever been down there on a mid-winter night. Did I mention it was cold out! I was ready to make a beeline for the restaurant and warm up my hands and feet. But Matt, with other plans in mind, insisted we slow down and just take in the scenery. He led me through the deserted park (minus the few skateboarders and another random guy) and paused in front of the LOVE statue. I still didn’t think anything of it, until he began his next sentence...“I just wanted to take this moment...”
And before I knew it, Matt reached into his pocket and pulled out a little black box. I honestly can’t recall what was going through my mind right then and there. I was completely surprised! We had talked about the future before, but I did not catch any of the signs of him proposing that night! It was truly a surprise! A very nice one at that. He got down on his knee and all I really remember is throwing my arms around him as the tears started to roll down my cheeks. And of course I said yes!
I was very caught up in the moment with my arms wrapped around neck that I didn’t even notice the audience that began to gather around us. When I looked up, in front of us was our whole family! My mom, Joe, Bill, Heather, Steve, Lauren, Ashley, Jen, Marge, Bruce, Dave, and Kara!! The whole gang was there! After exchanges of many hugs, kisses, and congratulations, we all went to dinner at Alma de Cuba (the location of our first fancy dinner date together). And the rest is history.
So in the end, it turned out that Matt only half lied to me about dinner that night. We may not have eaten at the restaurant he originally told me, but we did end up eating with Dave and Kara. Just with the special bonus of the rest of the family there too! It was an amazing and memorable night indeed <3
So where to begin.
I could begin with the move to Sacramento. I pretty much planned that I would pop the question after a few months of actually living together (needed to make sure she wasn’t a psycho ;P), I just wasn’t sure how or exactly when. I also wanted to wait until after her sister’s wedding in November.
I could begin with the week of Heather’s wedding. We came home for the week leading up to their big day and it REALLY got me in the proposin’ mood. I’m not sure a lot of people know this but I actually took a day that week to go to Jeweler’s Row in Philly and several of the mall-based stores. I didn’t find anything that I liked, but I did figure out that I needed to figure out what Kelly liked (b/c there were SO many options). After running an errand for the wedding later that week we stopped at a Kay Jewelers at Briton Lake. I got a sense of what she liked and tried to play it off as cool as possible considering we just went to look at rings!
I could begin with Heather’s wedding day. It was awesome and man was I craving that day for Kelly and me. Turns out Kelly caught the bouquet (after it hit a fan in the room), and I wrestled (literally) the garter away from Andrew. I guess what they say is sort of true, because 2 months later we were engaged.
I would have to say the real story starts on the flight home from PA. We were both pretty bummed about leaving and that we wouldn’t be home for Christmas, so we decided to book a flight to return to Philly in January. Secretly I knew this would be when I would propose. I wanted to propose with family nearby and in the city where our relationship grew from friendship to forever.
When we got back I spent a few days that week looking for the perfect ring, and eventually I found it at Devon’s Jewelers in Arden Fair Mall. It was actually the last Jeweler I had time to look at that Wednesday, and I stopped in with 5 minutes to spare before I had to be somewhere (not sure where exactly). So, I finally had a ring (and a secret safe deposit box to hide it in), but I needed some co-conspirators to help make the proposal go perfectly.
I told my parents and my brother the plan and they were in to help with making it happen. I called Lauran and Joe and officially asked permission to propose, so they were in as well. It put a lot of pressure on them, knowing almost 2 full months before, but they all did a great job with the secret. Eventually the whole family knew… except Kel.
So it was finally January and I sent a great email (attached below) outlining the details of the plan pretty much minute by minute. A few things were important to me: proposing in Philly; having all of the family around to share in the moment; and surprising Kel. I’ll spend the rest of my space describing that Saturday…
The plan was to get Kelly in town to meet with my brother and his wife for dinner (since it was the “only day we would be able to see them that weekend”). I chose a restaurant near Love Park (where I wanted to propose) and told her we were meeting them there at 7:00. It was easy enough to get Kelly in town, as we went to visit Jen at her apartment (and played settlers of catan). I don’t know how Jen kept a straight face as we were literally an hour and a half from the big moment. I also have to give big props to Lauran and Joe, they had to pretend they had other plans for the night, but were actually meeting us in LOVE park to witness and photograph the event.
Kelly wanted to stop by and see some people from UPENN, and we played settlers of catan there as well. We also got a little bit of a late start leaving and were running late, so I’m driving into town and freaking out, because I know that the whole family is waiting in the cold for us and we were going to be about 15 minutes late. Kelly doesn’t suspect a thing, so she’s actually kinda pissed at my freaking out and to add to it I’m determined to park under LOVE park and pass by 3 open street spots and 2 open garages.
We eventually park and I send a text to Dave, telling the family to be sure to be hidden (which he didn’t get since we were underground when it sent). We get out from the garage and start walking. I’m trying to direct her past the LOVE statue and she’s walking towards the restaurant. I make up something that she is going the wrong way and she is pissed, but pissed enough to just follow me and not argue too long.
We get in front of the statue and, I very rapidly get to one knee, and I say something along the lines of “I wanted to take this moment…”. I pull out the ring and she hugs me sooo hard, and when she opens her eyes she sees the whole family (and Jen) was there to witness it. Perfect. Eventually she answers the question and I put the ring on her finger!
The whole time there is a random guy saying “awww… that’s so cute… want a picture?” I guess he was the closest to the action because the rest of the family was hidden away, so he is probably our best witness of the event. It was funny but no one gave him their camera… we had Jen take the family photo.
Apparently Kelly had no idea it was going to happen that night, which I found shocking but I love that it worked out that way. I mean I practically telegraphed it, “we are going to the city for a fancy dinner, dress up, make sure your nails are done… “. Yeah…
I wasn’t totally lying when I say that we had dinner reservations, we did, at Alma de Cuba (the restaurant where we had our first ‘fancy date’ a few months into our relationship). The whole family had a perfect meal and I even got a “ring” (the paper that was on the signature chocolate cigar dessert).
Bouquet & Garter Catchers
(sign of things to come...)
On Bended Knee
She Said YES... Eventually!
Mom, Daughter, & Future Son-in-Law
The Whole Family
Tequila Shot @ Alma de Cuba
(click for larger image)